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Resume Writing part 2: Heading, Objective, Experience and Skills

Resume Writing Part 1 discussed the basic principles and formatting tips. Now part two will review the main sections and more Sharp Decisions recommendations for an ideal resume.

The first, and most crucial, part of the resume is the heading. The heading includes the candidate’s name, address, e-mail address and phone number. It may also include certifications or higher education. Without a name, a resume is, in reality, useless because a recruiter or hiring manager can’t reply about a resume that has no name or contact information.

Along with actually including a name and place to reach out about a resume, it’s important to bold and increase font size for the candidate’s name. This allows the name to pop off the page. It will be the first thing a recruiter/hiring manager sees and is more likely to stick with them if their eyes are drawn to it.

The objective, or summary, section should be tailored to a specific job and concisely state the candidate’s prior success and how they will be an asset in future roles, according to Sharp Decisions senior recruiter Eric Wegfahrt. It’s a place for the job seeker to shine because it enables a recruiter to immediately see if the candidate fits the position.

The experience section lists the jobs a candidate has held in the past (and sometimes present) in reverse chronological order. Listing the most recent job first and earliest job last allows a recruiter or hiring manager to see the applicant’s career growth. Wegfahrt stresses that every job description does not need a summary of the company itself, but rather the candidate’s success at the company.

“Each job listed does not have to give a paragraph on what the company does – many people include that,” he says. “Recruiters want to see what you have done specifically.”

A job title does not always accurately describe the position and duties. Succinctly stating the responsibilities and candidate’s impact at that position can help distinguish a candidate with relevant experience from one without. Incorporating key words in the job descriptions is central to a successful resume. Key words are those that a recruiter or hiring manager will search for within a resume.

“Unless you are really looking for one super-specific job or discipline, try to cast a wider net by being more general and using common buzz words for skills within your experience,” Wegfahrt says.

He says it’s also important to put every skill, ability and program used in the Skills section.

“You want to include absolutely everything you’ve touched/felt on the jobs – i.e., if I used MS Project once over the course of 5 years at a job, I am listing it in my skills,” Wegfahrt says.

Candidates with minimal experience and skills can list each aptitude as a different bullet under the skills heading. Those with an abundance of capabilities can group types of skills together. For technical applicants, skill groups may include: Project Methodologies, Business Modeling Tools, Language and Business Applications, among others.

The next section should be education, again, listed in reverse chronological order, and followed by affiliations, certifications and/or accomplishments. The last three sections are optional; candidates with specific affiliations, certifications or awards that do not fit under another section only need these.

It’s great to have a fantastic resume, but don’t forget how important networking can be because, according to a Forbes poll, a lot of senior level jobs are filled via personal connections. Always be networking and meeting people because you never know whom someone knows.

*Note: This order of sections is in accordance with Sharp Decisions guidelines for resume formatting. It is OK to list the sections in a different order on a resume. This is a Sharp Decisions preference, and we will, by no means, discard a candidate’s resume for using a different format. To apply for one of our available jobs, click here.